Bus-assembly line fire inflicts $11m loss

Monday, Feb 13, 2017 19:00

A bus is assembled at its plant by the Truong Hai Automobile joint stock company (Thaco) in Quang Nam Province. Production was resumed nine days after a fire broke out at the plant on February 2. —VNS Photo Cong Thanh

A fire that broke out at two sites of a bus assembly plant early this month destroyed spare parts and components worth VND250 billion (US$11 million).

The assessment was revealed by Chairman of the Truong Hai Automobile Joint Stock company (Thaco), Tran Ba Duong, at a press conference on Sunday in central Quang Nam Province, where the plant is located.

He said initial investigations point to the fire being caused by short-circuits.

The fire broke out on February 2 after working hours at around 6pm at the Chu Lai-Truong Hai Auto Manufacture and Assembly Complex and blazed for around three hours.

Components and accessories stored in the 5,400sq.m assembly workshop were burnt, Duong said.

He said over 1,000 workers in the complex and firemen from Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Da Nang, soldiers and staff of the Chu Lai Airport joined hands to stamp out the fire and remove components out the workshop.

The plant resumed operations on Sunday after an initial investigation and recovery, he added.

“The fire was out of reach of the plant’s automatic extinguishing system. It took four hours to mobilise a large fire-fighting force and extinguish the blaze,” Duong said.

‘Our fault’

“It’s our fault that we collected components and accessories to service big orders while a new production line was under construction,” he said.

Duong said Thaco had an insurance deal with the HCM City-based Bank of Investment and Development Bank (BIC) and Da Nang-based PVI for a total of VND638 billion ($28.2 million).

He said BIC had asked an independent unit, Viet Nam International Adjuster (VIA) to assess the damage.

The accident is still under investigation and final results will be announced after the probe is completed, he said.

Also present at the conference was Dinh Van Thu, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee. He said the fire was a lesson in fire prevention not only for Thaco, but other companies in the province’s industrial zones.

Thu said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc had asked the province to speed up the investigation and help the business resume production soon.

The Thaco chief said the fire had delayed delivery of buses by three days to seven days.

Thaco has invested US$400 million in constructing the Chu Lai-Truong Hai Industrial Complex, which has a logistics centre, car production factories, a vocational training college, a seaport, storage facilities and shipping services.

Last year, Thaco earned total revenues of VND65 trillion ($2.8 billion), a 40 per cent growth, contributing VND18 trillion ($796 million) to the State budget.

The nation’s biggest automaker plans to build three more plants with the total annual capacity of 215,000 trucks, vans, commercial cars, and achieve a localisation ratio of 16 per to 46 per cent.

It currently manufactures and distributes Korea’s Kia model, Japan’s Mazda and France’s Peugeot. It has exported its cars to Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Columbia.

Thaco plans to earn revenues of VND71 trillion ($3.1 billion) this year, equivalent to two per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). — VNS

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